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LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND…END EVERY FORM OF GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

It is another 25th of November. It is another international day for the elimination of violence against women. It is another reminder of the role you can play to put an end to gender based violence.

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Leave no one behind: End violence against women and girls . That is the theme for this year’s celebration and it advocates for the total elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls irrespective of their location or colour.

Gender violence and discrimination occur in developed nations as well as developing nations. The only difference would probably be in the magnitude and penalty.

An experience I had recently taught me that Violence against Women (VAW) does not necessarily mean physical violence. It cuts across emotional and psychological violence.
I dated and loved someone I thought was the best guy there was. Turned out he was not just a chronic womaniser, but he had very little respect for most of these women. I was blind to that part of him because he gave me 100% respect and what I thought was love. But when the chips were down, he made me realise he held little respect for the other women by the way he picked, used and tossed them aside. They were only there to satisfy his sexual desires. Their opinions, rights and feelings di not amount to anything. After all, they are ‘mere women’. As far as I am concerned, he exposed me as well as those other ladies to emotional and psychological violence and it was uncalled for.
I believe every woman, irrespective of job, color or location, has experienced one form of violence or the other. I recently listened to the Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Adichie speaking on feminism and I realised that even the celebrities are not left out of this inequality mindset. Personally, I am getting used to having waiters and waitresses greet and fuss over the man beside me while acting like I am not even there.

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Image courtesy of http://www.chimamanda.com
But when the famous Chimamanda explained how it also happens to her, I could only laugh at our society.

Funny enough, some men believe VAW is a thing of the past while many more others believe the female victims asked for it. They ask, what was she doing in a room alone with a guy? She asked to be raped. Like seriously?

But for me, it is more painful when women themselves think through their anus by joining the men to ask such questions. Or when they spearhead the maltreatment of widows or fail to teach their sons to respect and care for their sisters. Who would blame a guy whose mother taught from childhood, that he is more important than his sister? That he can rough-handle the neighbour’s daughter if she refuses to dance to his tunes?
And what about those women that fold their hands and watch their husbands and sons and brothers, rape their daughters and nieces and cousins? They sacrifice the happiness and future of these young girls on the alter of ‘family name’. They stand and watch mutely lest they bring the family name to shame. Is that one even a family?

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There are more female excisors than males, women who still believe that a woman must be genitally mutilated to please a man and keep the ladies loyal and pure – for the man. Excuse me!

No one deserves to be treated like an animal. No girl, no woman deserves to be violated, for any reason at all. There is absolutely no justification for violenece against women. I mean, how can you justify punching a woman senseless by saying she talks too much or rudely? Who punches you when you misbehave? Is she justified to rape the guy because he visited her?

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Today, all of us, male and female, young and old, white or black, we are being called upon to make a difference,  to help end violence against women and girls.
Will you stand up to be counted?

​MENDING MY BROKEN HEART 4

Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy 

I have been procrastinating this long to write this part because it is the hardest and it still hurts like hell. I still cringe at all that I discovered, I still feel like breaking something, (Ben’s head maybe) whenever I recall his numerous lies, his deceits, the shame of it still threatens to suffocate me. But I will trudge on and hope to finish what I started.

Ben was off to work as early as 6 AM on the morning I was to leave his place. He came in for breakfast around 8 AM and we ate together after which he left again while I waited for the boat that will take me to town for my departure. Fortunately and unfortunately for both of us, depending on how you view it, he forgot his phone in his haste to resume duty. As I saw that phone lying on that table, it was as if I was being pulled towards it. I had never nursed the idea of checking his phone before then, so it was not as if I saw it as a long awaited opportunity. Without doubts or second thoughts, I just picked the phone and straight I went to his Facebook messenger and afterwards, his Whatsapp, where I met my waterloo. 

I did not even have to go far, I mean, it was everywhere, in most of the messages I went through in that 30 minutes or thereabouts. There were all kinds of messages depicting who he is – a chronic womanizer! Messages to various ladies, the ones he had slept with and they discuss the sexual escapades and how to meet for more, the ones he was wooing, telling them how sexy and beautiful they are and inviting them to his apartment at his workplace where I was, the ones he was inviting to his place in the village, or in the city where he resides. (This is a guy that hardly ever tells me I look good or give compliments to me except if it has to do with my intelligence or job well done) 

There are the hundreds of other ladies that he was sending friend requests to, some accepted, some yet to accept. Then of course, there was the lady I once confronted him about, I saw details of their affair too. 

He contracts his friends, colleagues, and relatives, male and female, to help him organize babes. Most of them already knew his specs, I learnt he prefers them tall and curvy, but can fuck any available cunt, any day, any time, irrespective of structure. 

I had information overload in those 30 minutes than I ever had before. You might want to ask me how I was blind to all that. I ask myself same question, how is it that as sensitive as I am, I never caught on? How could I have been so stupidly blind and trusting? How could I have loved and trusted someone like that for such a long time? That hurts! His sister that was my roommate in school swears to me up till today that Ben does not womanize, even though women tend to disturb him. Lolz, he blinded us with his goodness, with his courage and care and magnanimity. I was a sucker for his good side and failed to see the bad side. I have only myself to blame. He showed me what I wanted to see.

You can blame me all you like for invading his privacy; I’d do it over and over again if it is the only way I get to see clearly. I would have still been playing the fool, he would still have been playing me for the fool had I not invaded his fucking privacy. I am glad I did, I have no regrets or remorse whatsoever.

How did I handle the information overload with him? Did I confront him with the facts or did I sweep it under the carpet? Did I walk away or did I try to salvage the relationship?

The next episode will satisfy our curiosity.  

Adios!

Mending My Broken Heart 3

MENDING MY BROKEN HEART 3

And so the journey continued. Ben visited me in my location, it was his first time to the area. Our first port of call was to the market where we purchased some stuffs for himself and his sister because the market was the biggest market in the country. From there, we lodged privately in an awesome hotel where we had so much fun it felt like it should last forever. It was just a night together but it was worth all the stress. We had the whole night to ourselves except when we went out for food and wine. It was all romantic and intimate, for once in a long time, I had him to myself and he had me all to himself without distractions. We experimented, we discovered, and we loved, without reservations though at the initial stage, it was a bit difficult for me to get my arousal up to notch. I attributed it to the fling I was having.

Yes, I had a sexual relationship with a friend who happened to be available whenever I needed some TLC and he was good at it, better than my boyfriend actually. He knew the right spots to touch and he was tender, patient and communicative. It was a no strings attached relationship for he knew I loved another. To me, Ben was perfect except in this area. We have been working on it, discussing it, analyzing it, but we were still a long way from getting it right. To think that I was killing myself with guilt over my cheating… what do I know?

Ben got to later meet with my mum at home for the first time and charmed her and her staff completely. I appreciated the visit more because I knew he detests travelling, especially long distance journey except it is by water. So travelling that distance by road to see me was special to my heart. He left the following day, back to his CDC duties.

After a couple of months, it came my turn to visit him in his community where he reigned as the CDC Chairman. I love travelling, no matter the route, the adventure and the experience. To get to his place, I needed to go through road and then water but it was all fun for me, especially the water part because that is an experience I am not used to. It was also another unique experience, for me at least. I saw different aspects of him that I never saw before. His excellent leadership skills, his love for the poor and less privileged in his community, his joy and pleasure in serving his people selflessly, the humility and authority with which he carried out these duties, it was a pleasure to watch him work.

Personally, he was the perfect host despite his very busy schedule. The minute I stepped into his apartment, my menstruation stepped out too, abnormally too early, obviously as a result of stress. I felt bad for I thought he would feel bad, but he took it in his stride. The four days I spent there were spent without any sexual experience and he was not bothered. He told me that if he could not control himself before me, then he was not a real man. Well, what do I know?

We went everywhere together, and he hardly walks with me without holding my hands in his or his hands on my shoulders or waist. Sometimes he invites me to sit in on his meetings with his kinsmen or executives and friends, sometimes asking me to sit on his laps during the chat with his friends even though I do not understand a word of what was being said.

Image courtesy of http://m.lovethispic.com/tag/broken+hearted

One day, I found a half packet of condom beside the bed and I just picked it up and left it on the bed where he would easily see it. When he came in and saw it, he said something in the lines of someone else using it. I overlooked it. What do I know?

It was a satisfying adventure for me. I left after about four days and we continued with the long distance thing. We were not able to see each other till about ten months later when I had to visit him at his work place on sea. You see, he got a job after his political stint. This time around, the journey was even farther, about 6-7 hours journey on land and sea and it was tiring but adventurous.

This location is on a secluded spot by the sea, an oil drilling plant with a males’ only crowd, aside the cook and one other girlfriend. Ben was on a mission to fatten me by all means, plying me with excess food, trying in many ways to see me happy and laughing, sometimes entertaining me with silly dancing steps. Despite his busy work schedule, he finds time to check up on me from time to time since I was mostly indoors with nowhere to go. He did his best to ensure that I was comfortable and happy.

It was an eleven-day journey of pure bliss and discoveries. We still discovered various aspects of ourselves that we did not know existed before and they were mostly good. I noticed some discrepancies in stuffs he told me, but I felt that everyone lies from time to time though I did not understand the reasons behind the lies. Then again, what do I know?

Then the day I was to leave was the bummer. The cards came crashing down, my world as I knew it with him turned into a mirage. It felt like I had been living a lie all these years. I was numb with pains and anger and disappointment. So much pain, so much hurt I felt like I was drowning with these ugly emotions.

Was it hard?” I ask.
Letting go?”

Not as hard as holding on to something that wasn’t real.

Lisa Schroeder

MENDING MY BROKEN HEART 2

Let me tell you a little about Ben, maybe it would help you understand.

He is known among his peers as Igbala, he told me the name meant Breeze, like catch me if you can – very apt. Aside the traits that first attracted me to him, Igbala is an extraordinary character. Everything he does is to the extreme – his courage, his magnanimity, his boldness, his drive for success, his passion, his rigidity and autocratic nature, his love and of course his hatred – everything. No room for compromises, no gray areas.

I have never met a more courageous man, nothing fazes him and he would do anything regardless of the consequences, so far as it will pave way for success in any particular goal.

One day after the pregnancy issue when we were trying to mend the broken walls of our relationship, I heard his name on radio. Luckily for me, it was still during the headlines, so I sat down to listen. I was not sure I heard correctly considering the distance between our locations, but as the news progressed, it was him alright. It was purported that he, as the Community Development Council Chairman of his Community, shut down all oil exploration activities in his community because the oil company refused to comply with the community’s demands which they had hitherto agreed to. They were agitating for a medical center and other basic amenities from the oil company. I knew he was daring but I did not know he was as daring as locking up multinational oil company well heads and blocking access to their facilities. No worker was allowed entrance unless you wanted to lose your job or life. I hurriedly googled it and sure enough, it was all over the internet, so I called him to get the details and ascertain that he was alright. He laughed and told me that it was the truth but that for the life of him, he did not know how that information leaked to the whole world.

I admire courage a lot, a sucker actually, more so when it is selfless and geared towards the good of others, imagine the impact of this altercation on me and my romantic heart. I think this incident gave the relationship a major boost.

But before this incident, he had shown me his magnanimity in more ways than one but there was one so outstanding that it is indelible in my heart.

You see, I lost my paying job before my relocation and even though I was helping out in my mother’s maternity, I could not ask my mum for salary. My mum became very ill with rheumatoid arthritis. The pains were out of this world and orthodox medicine was not helping much. When Ben called and asked after my mum, I told him about the situation on ground. He complained that I never mentioned that before but promised to see what he could do to help. Soon enough, he sent me the number of a doctor that I should call and explain the symptoms to. I called the man, and mum and I explained everything to him. The doctor said he would take it up with Ben as they had agreed initially. Next I knew, Ben informed me that he has paid the man for the drugs and its delivery to us. The money for the drugs was almost double my monthly salary when I was working. He would not even accept for us to assist with the payment. Mind you, we were no longer very close at this point, in fact, I had not seen him for close to two years by this time. The gesture and the way he handled it spoke to my heart directly.

I was blown off my feet once again, more so because there was no way we could have been able to pay that money in bulk within so short a time frame. It was just mum and I because I am fatherless and an only child too. Ben bought me completely with these two heroic and selfless acts that I was willing to lay down my life for him.

We got closer than ever after these incidents. He was ALWAYS there to listen to my problems and proffer practical solutions without asking for anything in return. He became my confidant, my brother, my father and my best friend all wrapped into one. He would pay in money from time to time, send more drugs, and even send their local fish from his village sometimes. He would send them via public transport way bill down to us. If I mention any need, he is sure to meet it, except he lacks the wherewithal. He would find means to end my joblessness – job applications, international scholarships, encouragements and all. There was little I could do for him except to write about his agitations on my blog and social media pages. When he seeks my advice, I would willingly give it, be his sounding board and listen to him as he regales me with tales of his exploits, challenges and family issues. I had neither silver nor gold to repay him with, he demanded for none, would feel insulted if I mentioned it.

We became the best of friends, discussing everything comfortably, from politics to sex. It was as if we just met and fell in love afresh. We discovered more about each other than we had in all the previous years we had dated – though still from a distance.

It was all too rosy and smooth sailing, I should have realized that it was too good to be true.

MENDING MY BROKEN HEART

The heart was made to be broken.

Oscar Wilde

Oh I have loved him unconditionally like forever, he was my dream man, the one I modeled other men against, the one I prayed to God for, the Mr. Right – only he was not!

I met Ben in school while I was in my second year of a 4-year course and he in his third year of a 5-year course. Asleep in my room which I shared with one of her towns girls that fateful day, he came visiting her for their state students union election. His voice woke me as he regaled her with daring tales of how he fought using every available means to win his own election as his faculty president. That intrigued me! I did not realize that students went to such extents to win what I considered ordinary school elections. Here was a young guy who knew what he wanted and did not mind taking enormous risks to get it. I lay there and my poor heart began to warm up to him without having to even open my eyes to see if he looked uglier than a guerilla. It just did not matter what he looked like.

Of course neither of them were aware that I was awake and privy to their conversation till they finished and he left. Then I quickly stood up and after bombarding my roommate (whom we used to call Orobokibo due to her size and boisterous nature) with questions about him, I told her how courageous and intriguing I found him.

He became a regular visitor to the apartment as time went by and in time, he asked me out and we migrated from friends to lovers. Right from that very beginning of things, ours had been an unusual relationship, we did not see as often as I would want. We were both busy with our studies especially him as he was an engineering student and our campuses were very far apart though same school. That made me want more I guess, I simply was not seeing enough of him, the relationship was far from fulfilling.

At a point, I started dating a more matured guy, same tribe as I am, who though was residing a million miles away, still made me feel like he was always around me. Besides, he knew more about lovemaking and caring for a woman’s needs. So I called it quits with Ben who Orobokibo told me also had a girlfriend in his campus. His only response to my quit text was that ‘It is often not what we do that matters but how we do them’. He still occupied a place in my heart but I felt I was better off with the older guy, Ike. That relationship with Ike despite the depth of love also crashed at a point. I still dated other guys along the line but nothing serious.

It has been an unending cycle with Ben, even after all these years. We got back together again sometime during our final year or so. All the feelings I had for him were still intact and it was fun even though the same old issues still presented. It was on that note that we graduated and left school, widening the distance physically and emotionally.

In the years following our graduation, we only saw a few times but whenever it was possible for us to see, we made the best of it then went our separate ways, no serious strings attached. We were residing in different states, a journey of about 10 hours by road actually. During one of my visits to his state for my Orobokibo’s mother’s burial ceremony, I incidentally found one of his girlfriends and when I confronted him, he really would not talk about it. Much later on, my roommate informed me that Ben impregnated a lady and that they were living together. We went our separate ways after these incidents, naturally. After all, it was obvious that it was not working, not going to work with all that distance between us. I was not celibate either.

You would think that these incidents would make me wiser right? Duh! He is one being that I love unconditionally, aside my mum. When I relocated closer to his state, this time, about 4 hours distance, we somehow got on speaking terms again. I asked him about the impregnation issue but he explained that yes, he impregnated a girl and that even though he wanted to marry her because of the baby, he did not because they lost the baby along the line. What hurt more was that even though we were not dating in the real sense of it when this happened, I expected him to at least inform me about it without waiting for me to find out from another source.

All these were only preparing me for the real shocker which silly and naïve me did not see coming at all.
To be continued…

Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing…

Elizabeth Gilbert

Conquer or be Conquered

I am beginning this blog as an escape route and a means of self expression because my heart is so heavy that if I don’t express, it might burst to piecds.

I need these expressions to be no-holds-barred, if I can manage it. I’d like to bare it all, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Write now and think later.

As for the title of the blog, that’s a basic reality of life and I learnt that the hard way. So now, I am also learning to just conquer without limits, because if you don’t conquer, you re bound to be Conquered.